By contributor Sarah Segal

Vancouver Island University students are ready to vote in the BC Provincial Election.

“We continue to see a government who consistently underfunds education,” said Avery Bonner, VIU Students’ Union spokesperson. “Today, higher education is not optional; it is mandatory. For that reason, British Columbians need a government that has a vision that includes investing in education.”

Youth voting increased by nearly ten percent in the last provincial election, due, in part, to the campaign work of BC students. This election, students across the province will continue their work to mobilize young people to vote in their communities. Students cite increased tuition fees, growing student debt, the lack of entry-level jobs, low wages, and historically high housing costs as areas where the BC government has failed young people and their families.

“We want to engage students in conversations about the provincial election this spring, and the election issues that matter to them,” said Avery Bonner. “We know students are voting in increasing numbers. We saw that in the 2015 federal election. Students and young people collectively make up a large number of voters, enough that our voice can make a difference in this upcoming election.”

This election is predicted to be close. In the last provincial election, four ridings came down to less than 200 votes. In this 2017 provincial election, there is a potential that youth voters can decide the outcome with their votes. The VIU Students’ Union will be out on campus for a Week of Action February 27 – March 3. Across campus, students will sign vote pledges, register to vote, and determine where their closest polling station is. For this provincial election, record numbers of youth voters are expected because on May 9, students are voting.